TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As security officials prepare for next week's Republican National Convention, Tampa police are investigating whether there are links between the August 15 posting of a YouTube video purporting to be from the hacker collective known as Anonymous and the discovery of pipes and bricks on a downtown rooftop two days later.
The eight-minute video, titled "ANONYMOUS: Message 2 RNC Activists F.B.I TPD & PI Bill Warner," features a figure in a blue outfit wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, speaking in a computer-altered voice.
The video shows images of a car burning and police in riot gear marching through an unidentified city.
The figure says, "You have an opportunity to fight back at the Republican National Convention. How you fight back is up to you … but it is a fact that flowers and holding up signs stopped working long ago."
The pipes and bricks were found Friday on the roof of a building on the northwest corner of Florida Avenue and Tyler Street.
Graffiti, including the numeral "99" and an image of a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, similar to those worn by members of the Anonymous collective, as well as Occupy movement protestors, was found on the building.
Because of the graffiti found at the building and the message delivered in the video, police are looking to see if the two are linked, said Assistant Police Chief John Bennett.
"If you take a look at this as a continuum, you take the video and the prepositioned weapons and graffiti in the event zone, it lends itself to the realization of what we have been told and saw both for this event and historically," Bennett said. "We investigate every possible angle, especially violent behavior. We are looking for a link."
Bennett called the video "disappointing" because police are trying to ensure everyone who wants to protest is able to exercise their constitutional rights.
"I think when they said 'flowers don't work' and try to mention certain things we would call peaceful demonstrating don't work, I think that sets a tone," he said.
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